Preventing MRSA After Surgery

March 5, 2012

Sick KidHospitals have been increasing their attention to antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria as strains such as methicillian resistant Staphylococcus aureus and the suberbug carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae become more common.

After a new study found that almost a third of children who have open airway surgery develop MRSA infection symptoms after surgery, a recommendation has been made to screen & start children on antibiotics before surgery and continue it after. According to the research, the preventive use of antibiotics was successful at stopping MRSA infection symptoms.

Of course, overusing antibiotics is what lead to the development of resistant bacteria in less than half a century since its discovery. While the new procedure might prevent infection symptoms in post-ops in the short term, short of new discoveries in the world of antibiotics (something only a few small companies are working on) the future is bleak. Conservative estimates give antibiotics a little over a decade of usefulness, while more optimistic outlooks (and the possibility of new research) gives them two decades or more before bacterial infection symptoms become a deadly concern.

How Do Surgeries Lead To Infection Symptoms?

Bacteria, including MRSA, as well as viruses and some fungi live naturally on the skin. Normally competition between them keeps them in check (antibiotics are based on fungi, a natural competitor to bacteria and vice versa). A weakened immune system (as often happens after surgery when the body is healing) and an opening into the body are ripe possibilities for infection.

Screening patients may help, but hospitals also recognize the importance of keeping surfaces clean, since some studies have found that many of them can be covered with pathogens, including MRSA. Nano silver coated glass as well as tools and implants have started to become popular since they naturally kill pathogens like MRSA, but their use isn’t wide spread, and may be in danger from regulation.

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